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Microsoft locks AutoRoute, Streets and Trips, MapPoint forum
Marvin Hlavac
Yesterday, 4/17/2012, Microsoft locked and switched to read-only mode its own AutoRoute, Streets and Trips, MapPoint online forum. People are encouraged to visit the more general site, answers.microsoft.com, to search for information and/or post their questions.

The following was the last post to the forum posted by a MSFT administrator:
Quote:
Posts for Streets and Trips, AutorRoute and MapPoint are now being monitored at http://answers.microsoft.com/

Please go to this site to post, search and view threads from other uses of these products.

The now locked MS forum was first opened about a year and a half ago. It was to serve as a replacement for the closed NNTP user groups dedicated to AutoRoute, Streets & Trips, and MapPoint products.

P.S. The AutoRoute, Streets & Trips, MapPoint forum @ Laptop GPS World remains open.
winwaed
Yes I've just discovered this - a big mistake I think. The "answers" site is not a on-topic forum that is easy to check. Hence it will be less frequently visited by people such as you or I - and people will get fewer answers from the experts.

Actually if you search "answers" for MapPoint you get a few questions. All have answers from Eric pointing the poster to better places (typically the old Streets & Trips board that has just closed, and his site)!
SpadesFlush
In a way, MSFT's move is understandable. Certainly, the site was redundant and inferior to this Forum. And consumers had a tendency to confuse third-party contributions with that of company spokespersons, inappropriately raising expectations. In fact, the user community is generally better informed about the pluses and minuses of the product than are MSFT own support people, excepting the actual product management team who obviously cannot be expected to respond to all customer inquiries.

The "answer" site looks to be nearly totally and effectively unresponsive, however. This will lead to increased consumer frustration which in turn leads to brand erosion for both the company and for the products which in turn leads to diminished sales. I don't know what to make of the slipping of the new-version release dates but it doesn't smell right. Surely, the viability of a product like this is partially dependent on a cycle of constant refreshment. The spiral seems to be pointing down rather than up.

One thing MSFT could do would be to point consumer inquiries in the direction of this Forum where they might actually get answers.
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
One thing MSFT could do would be to point consumer inquiries in the direction of this Forum where they might actually get answers.
That would certainly be welcome. The benefit of this forum is that it is a DISCUSSION forum. It is NOT geared purely towards people asking questions and getting them answered, but rather it is here for users to share experiences with the product. People here post tips, tricks, work-arounds. We discuss the products-related topics, and we learn from each other. That, in my opinion, is a LOT more valuable than just getting answers to questions.
winwaed
The plot thickens - it looks to be back!

For building a community, I think you are right Marvin, although answering questions is still important. As SpadesFlush says, we can give better support than Microsoft's own support people (and MS's product team are busy doing other things like working on the new versions!)
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